Thursday, September 4, 2008

Controlling What We Can

As writers, there is so little about our career that we have control over. Our craft, yes. Whether we sell a book, find a reader, or get good reviews, not so much. Even whether bookstores will put our book on their shelves is totally out of our hands.

Therefore, it was of great comfort to me to hear Jennifer Enderlin of St. Martin’s Press emphasize that publishing is a business of relationships, whether with your publishing house or your readers. The thing is, introverts excel at relationships and connecting, so that plays to our strengths. She also had some really good things to say about those things the writer can control, and a lot of her advice strikes me as a way to "market" yourself to your publisher as someone who is professional and worth their time and investment. The advice is also a lot of common sense and good manners.

1. Hone your craft. (Sound familiar?)

2. Don't follow trends—instead, create your own.

3. Be emotional about your work, but not about the business.

4. Don't compare yourself to other writers. Each career path is as different as the books you write.

5. Make a team out of the people in your career by building on those relationships.

6. Treat your writing like a professional.

7. Find your own writer support group.

8. Get rid of the 'us versus them' mentality. Your publisher wants you to be successful. When you look good, your editor looks good.

9. Attend to the care and feeding of readers. Make them feel a part of a community. Answer email and be accessible.


Anonymous said...

Robin, I love this, but I haven't ever heard that (we) introverts are good at connecting with people. I think I am, and you guys are helping me get over the introvert=shy misconception, but I'd love a little more talk about this connection thing! How and why--what about being an introvert makes this a talent? :)

Wild About Words said...

Great post! Exactly the inspiration this writer needed to begin her day.

marce said...

Thanks for the reminder about honing the craft. The longer I write, the more I believe this is the key. Just what I needed to start my writing day.

liquidambar said...

Many introverts do well with one-on-one communication. We're the ones who, at parties, stand in the corner with some fascinating person, exchanging life stories. And pray desperately that nobody starts up a conga line.

cindy said...

great post. thanks for this informative blog. i appreciate it!

Robin LaFevers said...

First of all, welcome to the newcomers, Cindy and Marce! So glad to hear from you. And Cindy, congratulations on your recent book sale. It sounds fabulous! You'll have to make sure and let us know when its released, maybe on one of our future Milestone Mondays.

Becky, I don't think we've done a post on how and why introverts are good at connecting with people. We'll put this in the pipeline for future posts!

Have a great weekend, all!

Beverley BevenFlorez said...

I think it's so easy to get caught up in market research that we forget that it's still about writing a terrific story. Great blog.

Anonymous said...

The thing about excellent advice is that it's entirely unfollowable.
Like eat less / move more...
but... i suppose we DO have to keep saying these things anyway.
Amy g Koss

Bella said...

Great site... I'll definitively be back!